Letter to the editor 03.29.10

members walk through protest

I sent the following letter concerning accusations of racism to the Daily Beacon, the University of Tennessee’s student newspaper, on March 29, but it was never printed:

Columnist Sam Smith is either a victim or, worse, a collaborator of propaganda. On March 20, the day before passage of the historic blunder misnamed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, several male members of the Congressional Black Caucus sauntered through a large crowd of mostly white demonstrators outside the Capitol–that is to say, they pulled a publicity stunt.

I have watched several videos of the incident, and I have a few questions that Smith may not have asked himself. Why did this group of black men choose to walk through the excited crowd? Almost every other representative traveled to the Capitol that day through the underground tunnel connected to their offices, and almost every other day these men do so as well. Why did all of these black men walk to the Capitol together? Why were two of the members recording the event with mobile devices? Why, after watching all of these videos, did I never once hear the N-word? It was mostly shouts of “kill the bill.” No one in the media, or even on a layperson’s hand-held recorder, has been able to produce any evidence that a racial invective was ever uttered, much less shouted, by the demonstrators that day. Fortunately, it appears the Black Caucus’ attempt to instigate a racial incident failed. The “Tea-Party” contingent was not so racist as had been hoped.

The publicity stunt, however, worked wonders. Just hours later, every evening news program reported that the demonstrators shouted the N-word at the men repeatedly. The intended message is clear: citizens opposed to Obamacare are ignorant, unreasonable racists that should be ignored. Despite the fact that this message is based on lies and propaganda, Smith affirms it.

Then, after forcing Republicans to accept this propaganda as reality, Smith challenges GOP leadership to denounce the fabricated bad behavior of its base, apparently unaware that House Minority Leader John Boehner has already issued a public condemnation. Smith also asks, “How long will we continue to watch the GOP behave this way and accept it as part of our political dialogue?” The answer: until we stop believing the perpetual myths of propagandists like the Congressional Black Caucus.

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